Coaching Baseball: Eliminating Bat Drag


I notice that most elementary and middle school baseball players “drag” their bats through the hitting zone when they swing.

Whenever I work with a new player on their swing, I usually spend the majority of the time working on eliminating bat drag.

This is mentally painful for the youngsters, because I’m trying to get them to change something in their swing that feels comfortable to them.

Bat Drag Example

Bat Drag Example

How To Identify & Eliminate “Bat Drag”

So what is bat drag? Bat drag happens when the player “pulls” his hands through the hitting zone with the barrel dipped below the hands, and the player never really “unhinges” or “clears” his hands through contact. Notice how high the hands are in my example on the right. I actually could not replicate exactly what it looks like. One thing to look for when identifying bat drag is the back elbow. It will lead to the ball at the approach position and the bat lays down behind the hands. To see better pictures of bat drag, check out Chris O’Leary’s study HERE.
Furthermore, players that have “bat drag” are having a problem synching their upper and lower body. To put in other words, their hips may fly open too soon.

This causes the hitter to try to generate power with just their hands and their swing becomes too long.

Poor Plate Coverage

Poor Plate Coverage

Negatives:

  • Slow bat speed
  • Poor plate coverage…cannot hit the outside pitch (see picture). This player will routinely hit the ball off the end of his bat.
  • Creates top spin and/or side spin which decreases the flight of the ball (like a slice in golf)
  • Cannot catch up with high pitch
  • Most bat draggers lunge to the ball instead of letting the ball get to them
Improper Bat Grip

Improper Bat Grip

Causes:

  • Improper grip (see picture)
  • Bat may be too heavy or player is not strong enough with top hand to keep the barrel up
  • Player was never taught to “un-hinge” or “clear” his hands and wrists at the correct time
  • Back shoulder dips
  • Lunging at the ball

Remedies:

If you are interested in a training aid that will absolutely clean up your player’s hitting mechanics (to include eliminating bat drag) check out the Swing XP. Check out this quick video below.

  • Hit off a Tanner Tee in the low and away position. This is the only tee that will adjust low enough to reach knee high believe it or not. Place the tee directly off the back knee on the outside corner
  • Slow motion Torque Drill
  • Use the Advanced Skills Tee by Muhl Tech. This tee will STOP the player from upper-cutting if it is used enough to store that muscle memory.
  • Increase forearm strength with forearm roll exercises
  • One handed soft toss (use top hand only and choke up)
  • Correct grip…line up your “door knocker” knuckles
  • Get your back elbow down in the slot
  • Think of your hands as the pivot point or fulcrum to a lever…your hands need to stop the forward motion and become this pivot point to create a whipping action, similar to chopping down a tree with an axe
  • Stay on plane…
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About CoachK

Owner and head instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction. CBI serves Southern VA with baseball camps and private lessons. CBI also developed My Coach: Baseball App and sells a variety of baseball training aids.